A familiar face returned to a familiar place on Tuesday.
After 17 years as head coach of St. Pat’s, Shelly Byrn returned to North Platte, this time as head coach of Ogallala.
Byrn — who took over this April after legendary Indians coach Steve Morgan stepped down after 45 years — led Ogallala to a 16-25, 25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 15-9 victory.
"It was definitely different being back (to North Platte) in the orange and black," Byrn said. "It was good though. Everyone was so receptive, and it was great to see a lot of different people that I’ve known over the years."
Tuesday’s win was Ogallala’s fourth win in five games and second this season over North Platte after a 2-1 victory on Sept. 5 in Ogallala.
However, it was North Platte (6-9) that took control early on Tuesday.
After Ogallala (7-2) quickly jumped to a 3-0 advantage, North Platte responded by rattling off the next five points and never trailed again, winning the set 25-16.
Ogallala returned the favor in the second set, going up 9-8 and never looking back en route to a 25-18 set win.
In the third, Ogallala again took the early lead at 6-1 before North Platte clawed back with a 5-1 run, cutting the lead to 7-6. Later in the set, a big kill from Bulldog senior Chakera Hough cut Ogallala’s lead to 19-15, but two North Platte service errors down the stretch quelled momentum. The Indians won the set on an assist from Addison Shaw who fed Milan Coggins for the set-point kill.
North Platte fell behind early in the fourth set, but went on a 7-2 run punctuated by a kill from Kelsey Salazar-Allen to put the Bulldogs up 12-10.
Later in the set, a Carly Purdy kill made it 22-16 North Platte, and Hough finished things off with a match-evening kill.
In the decisive fifth set, Ogallala blitzed North Platte, starting the set by scoring the first six points. North Platte fought back and cut the Ogallala lead to 14-9, but a Bulldog hit out of bounds secured the victory.
"I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff (at Ogallala)," Byrn said. "It’s been exciting. I’m really proud of how the girls stepped up and responded tonight."
Ogallala plays at the Gothenburg Invite on Friday and Saturday, while North Platte will be at the LPS Classic in Lincoln, also on Friday and Saturday.